January 31, 2011


The 17th annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards unfolded yesterday, with predictable victories and disappointments in the television categories. Here’s what I thought of the new Actor winners.

To see a complete list of winners, CLICK HERE

Alec Baldwin (winner) and Tina Fey (nominee), from 30 ROCK

As mentioned by TV TALK earlier (See AWARD FEVER!!), the SAG Awards have a major challenge in giving out the awards for television, considering that they don’t have categories for the supporting cast. It was mentioned, that the SAG jury ends up not doing justice to television actors while picking nominees. And as it turns out, they don’t do justice to the actors while picking out the winners either. Here, I’m mainly talking about Alec Baldwin and his performance in 30 ROCK. Now I agree that he’s a brilliant actor and he does a fine job on the show, but does the Guild seriously think that his performance is so groundbreaking every year to actually give him the award for five consecutive years? I think it’s ridiculous, even if they need to judge performances in isolation from past winners, and not omit someone just because they’ve already won. Now when they announced the nominees, I was appalled performers like Jim Parsons (THE BIG BANG THEORY), Eric Stonestreet (MODERN FAMILY) and Neil Patrick Harris (HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER) not even being nominated, when Chris Colfer (GLEE), who clearly overacts, and Ed O’Neill (MODERN FAMILY), for a very ordinary performance, get nominated! Even though I said I wouldn’t be surprised if Baldwin wins again, I still wondered if they had something up their sleeves to make it seem right; but we all know how that turned out!

Betty White
Moving on from that… As I mentioned earlier (and I quote myself), ‘Betty White’s nomination for HOT IN CLEVELAND really seems like a forced courtesy extended to the senior actress (they already gave her the special achievement award last year!), depriving some more deserving women of a chance to win!’ And for them to actually give her the award when there were way more deserving candidates like Jane Lynch (GLEE) and Sofia Vergara (MODERN FAMILY), was truly a disappointment. They might as well have given the award to Tina Fey (30 ROCK) for a fourth consecutive year!

The cast of MODERN FAMILY, with their statuettes

However, while those were the upsets, I think the Guild did one thing right, by giving the cast of MODERN FAMILY the awards for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. I was almost certain that, like the Golden Globes, they too would give GLEE the equivalent award, but I’m glad they recognized the superior quality of MODERN FAMILY over GLEE. As for the drama categories, they did go the way the Globes did. BOARDWALK EMPIRE shone through, with Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, and Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series for Steve Buscemi. Julianna Margulies, on the other hand, won her second SAG Award for her role in THE GOOD WIFE, making it the next show for me to look out for.

The cast of BOARDWALK EMPIRE, with their statuettes
Overall, the downs at the SAGs did disappoint me, with the ups offering little reassurance. I’m largely disappointed because I really like everything about the Screen Actors Guild, and I really expected better from them. Now, I’d really like to know what you think… 

January 29, 2011


A Milwaukee audition of AMERICAN IDOL S10 in progress

The second week of IDOL S10 brought its own surprises. Some were destined to be on the show, destined to go to Hollywood, while others didn't quite make the cut. Jennifer seemed to grow as the hardest judge on the new panel. Moving on from just her, I thought that the judges were getting what it takes to decide who would be the next AMERICAN IDOL. I might still miss the harsh brutality of Simon Cowell, but I really think that if a panel of judges can be objective beyond the image that they carry, I think that will lead to them being what it really takes to be a good judge. I think that Simon's absence from the panel might imply that the judging on the show would go beyond what the judges were known to do, and recognize talent irrespective of what they were known to recognize. I like the sense of isolation that this season has brought with it. While we had one auditioneer singing a Jennifer Lopez song, we had another who considered Steven Tyler as their idol. Even so, the judging has been unpredictable. I didn’t really know and couldn’t predict or decide what the judges would do with the auditioneers. I think that’s what's keeping the show interesting for me.

I have to admit that when Simon decided to leave, and when Ellen and Kara, both announced their exit, I seriously thought that the forthcoming (tenth) season of the show would be their last. However, seeing how it’s been going on the show so far this season, I genuinely believe that this show is here to stay. Not only does it rake in the thousands of people who want what the recognition that an AMERICAN IDOL finalist gets, but it also has a judging panel that knows how to recognize talent. While they still encourage very, very nascent talent, I really think that they know what they are doing. I am sure that the new panel of judges will bring to us a set of finalists that are just as competitive and talented as any other set we’ve seen over the last nine seasons and more than that! I, for one, cannot wait for the Hollywood week and all that is set to come ahead of that for us...

 WHAT DO YOU THINK?? Please tell us...

COMING SOON: The 17th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards

January 22, 2011


Ryan Seacrest’s signature expression may have been missing from the season 10 premiere of AMERICAN IDOL, but the premiere itself was far from disappointing. Read on, and share your views on the new judges this season.

After the S9 finale of AMERICAN IDOL, when Lee Dewyze was crowned Idol king 2010, Ellen DeGeneres announced that she was quitting IDOL, after being on board for only one season. Soon after that, Kara DioGuardi announced her exit, after being on the judging panel for just two seasons. And with Simon Cowell having bid adieu by the end of the S9, Randy Jackson was the lone survivor on that panel. New judges were required, and they had to be big names, to keep us viewers’ interest alive, especially after the departure of Simon, who is one of the reasons why many people used to watch the show. Names were thrown around, and rumours were being spread every few weeks after the exit of the three judges, and finally there seemed to be some kind of a confirmation on who would be joining Randy. IDOL had done it. They had roped in two of the biggest names in contemporary music—Steven Tyler, the lead singer of Aerosmith, and singer, dancer and actress Jennifer Lopez! And trust IDOL to dramatize the entire search for new judges, with the montage that opened S10!

Bringing in the excitement and drama that IDOL is known for; the season began with a bang, with the first two days of auditions in New Jersey. The crowd waiting for a chance to be heard was massive, as is the case with any IDOL auditions. The premiere had quite a few fresh 16-year-olds trying out, after having waited several years to turn 16 and try out. However, this season, the lower age limit was dropped to 15, and the first 15-year-old girl to audition for IDOL made it through to Hollywood, which sent out an encouraging message to other young applicants. Speaking of applicants making it to Hollywood, I felt that the judges seem to have been rather lenient with those auditioning, even saying yes to several wannabe singers who were off tune and tempo.

While Randy’s always seemed the fair judge of performances, in the premiere, he seemed to be the toughest one. Maybe Steven and Jennifer are taking their time to settle in, but they seemed to be happy with almost all of the audition performances in the premiere. Steven, who, I imagined, would be a tough judge, seems to be quite soft and gentle, which was interesting to see. On the other hand, Jennifer seemed visibly uncomfortable about having to say no to some, and even wondered out loud why she had signed up for this tough task. Beyond that, I think they were both fine. I really liked how they were quite comfortable judging together and even getting along with Randy. Ryan Seacrest continued to do his job with perfection. His interaction with those auditioning and their families is really endearing, because he seems to comfortable with complete strangers, and even lends his shoulder to offer some comfort to a few. One of the best hosts I’ve ever seen on television, I’m just glad he’s still a part of IDOL even after nine seasons.

So as we look forward to the rest of the season, and as I hold my breath till we have our top 12 of the season, here are a few things I’m hoping for this year: A J-Lo week, when everyone has to perform one of her songs, an Aerosmith week, and a performance by the cast of GLEE, since both shows are from FOX. I’m looking forward to big things this season. I only hope that the new judges become a little tougher, because without Simon on the panel, there needs to be at least one person who can be harsh without making any apologies for it. I think Simon is the only thing I’m missing this season, even though I really liked Ellen and Kara as judges as well. Being a fan of Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith’s songs, I’ve been excited about this season for months, and I sure hope the show keep up with the good start they’ve made in S10.

What did you think of the premiere, the new judges and the new opening credits? Comment here and vote in the poll alongside.

COMING SOON: The 17th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards

January 17, 2011


The 68th annual Golden Globe Awards for television were announced yesterday, January 16, along with those for motion pictures. TV Talk gives you an update on Award Fever 2011

For a complete list of winners at last night’s awards, CLICK HERE.

Everyone on the list of presenters seemed 
apt for the awards they presented
The Golden Globes this year were star studded as usual. While the regular award-goers from the large screen were there, making statement after fashionable statement on the red carpet, the turnout of TV stars was phenomenal. Most of the TV nominees made it, as did other actors from all the nominated shows. Ricky Gervais, as host of the evening did a fine job of breaking down the past year of film and television, with witty one-liners that kept the crowd entertained between the award announcements. The list of presenters was equally impressive, and everyone on the list seemed to be apt for all the awards they presented. While The Social Network swept the awards in the motion picture categories, Inception sadly won nothing.

The cast of Glee celebrates the victory
The biggest winner in television was GLEE, with three wins, including Best TV Series – Musical or Comedy, and Best Performances by Supporting Actor and Actress in a TV Series/Mini-series/TV Movie. I think the only deserving winner from among those was Jane Lynch. Chris Colfer, who is sometimes good on the show, is very over-the-top otherwise. With completion like Eric Stonestreet (MODERN FAMILY) in the category, he certainly didn’t deserve his victory. Speaking of which, MODERN FAMILY not winning anything was definitely the biggest disappointment in the TV categories. As a contemporary comedy, the show is definitely far more superior to GLEE in terms of storylines, writing, characterisations and overall consistency. Even THE BIG BANG THEORY would have been a way more deserving winner as compared to GLEE.

Jane Lynch accepts her award
Moreover, GLEE won the Globe last year, which it probably did deserve, given the unique quality about the show, and the fantastic musical performances, but the current season of the show has been less than impressive, and consistency has taken a serious blow with the writing. All said and done, I’m still happy that 30 ROCK wasn’t a factor in this year’s Globes. In fact, this year’s winner for Best Performance by an Actor in a TV Series – Musical or Comedy, Jim Parsons for THE BIG BANG THEORY, was a relief, after Alec Baldwin won for his role in 30 ROCK for two consecutive years. And it was indeed a sweet moment when the award was presented to Parsons by his co-star and friend Kaley Couco. As for Actress in a TV Musical or Comedy, after Toni Collette (UNITED STATES OF TARA) broke Tina Fey’s record last year, and Edie Falco (NURSE JACKIE) won the Emmy last year, I didn’t expect Laura Linney to win, but she probably deserved her Globe. She wasn’t there to accept it, which was unfortunate, since she is one of those performers who gets nominated almost every year, but seldom wins.

Jim Parsons during his acceptance speech
In the drama category, the three-year reign of MAD MEN came to an end, with BOARDWALK EMPIRE taking away Best TV Series – Drama, which didn’t come as much of a surprise, given that the awards always love the most intense of dramas, and as is evident, period dramas. I did expect BREAKING BAD to win Bryan Cranston the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a TV Series – Drama, after his Emmy win last year, but Steve Buscemi took this one away for BOARDWALK EMPIRE. In the Best Performance by an Actress in a TV Drama category, Katey Sagal won the Globe for her acclaimed complex performance in SONS OF ANARCHY.

The night had its share of surprises, but it was one of the better Golden Globe Award shows I’ve seen in the recent past. A few deserving winners being snubbed may have been disappointing, but it was still a night to be remembered. As for whether the Globes are an indication of the Screen Actors Guild TV winners (to be announced on January 30), I don’t think so, mainly because the nominee list is quite different. However, the Globes motion picture results have been a good indicator of the Academy Awards results, and that might hold true this year as well. But before one can decide on that, I look forward to the Academy Award nominations to be announced on January 25. Till then, please tell me what you thought of the 68th Golden Globe Award results.

COMING SOON: The 17th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards 

January 15, 2011


OFF THE MAP, the brand new show from the Shondaland stable premiered on Wednesday on ABC. TV TALK breaks down the pilot as we look forward to more...

Right from the first few frames showcasing the stunning locales that we’re going to see in this new medical drama, I knew that we were in for something big. My expectations were high, after watching almost seven seasons of GREY’S ANATOMY and three seasons of PRIVATE PRACTICE, knowing the great television that Shonda Rhimes has brought to us, I can safely say that after seeing the pilot of OFF THE MAP, I was far from being disappointed. The premise of the show is rather simple—three experienced medical professionals welcome three younger doctors to work with them somewhere in rural South America, where they save lives and cure diseases with whatever resources and experience they have. The medical cases may be simple or bizarre, but the underdeveloped third-world setting presents challenges that put everything in a different perspective, whatever the case may be.

Mario Perez – © 2010 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc
The young doctors, who come to South America for a fresh start, after individual upsets in each of their lives, are more than surprised by what they find. Not being prepared for what lay ahead of them catches them off guard, while expectations from them are high. The seniors grill them for everything they lack, as they all try to deal with this change that they signed up for. Even getting along with each other poses a minor problem, so proving their worth and earning some respect in the process seems to be something in the distant future for them.

I’d have to say that while the concept of OFF THE MAP may not be groundbreaking, it’s still unique for television. It will be a challenge for the writers to sustain interest levels for long, with medical cases that are just as interesting as the ones in the pilot, cases that make this show different from other medical dramas on the tube. As far as the characters are concerned, creator and writer Jenna Bans has laid a strong foundation, with tremendous potential to explore the characters and develop them over several seasons, hopefully. The magic of Shonda Rhimes is evident from all the revelations made in the pilot, and the different sides to the characters that we see. The rest of the season will probably show how they settle into their new jobs and their new home, and I’m looking forward to watching all of it. The actors seem to be doing a good job, especially Martin Henderson (The Ring, Torque, Bride & Prejudice) and Jason George, and with a strong cast, characters, good writing, and breathtaking visuals, this show definitely offers great promise. It sure is a keeper for me!

A few reviews of the pilot that I read before watching it criticize the fact that people from a world power come to save lives in a third-world country, calling it another tale of ‘white man saves the world’, but I would say that that’s a very narrow-minded perspective of the show. We all know that underdeveloped areas exist in the world, and that people from developed nations help such places, in ways big and small, and if an American is writing a story, surely they’d make the main characters American. It has nothing to do with a superiority complex. 

After watching the pilot, you should fill out this ABC survey to express what you thought of it. CLICK HEREAnd, of course, please comment here as well.

COMING SOON: The Golden Globe Awards 2011

January 9, 2011


The votes are in and it's time to declare the results. So here's the TV TALK Best of 2010... 
(The Readers' Choice is indicated in the series and acting categories)

Best Series – Drama
Brothers & Sisters
Desperate Housewives
Grey’s Anatomy
House MD (Readers' Choice)

One of the most superior shows on television, House MD definitely deserved to win. Besides the fact that I watched watched all seasons in 2010 itself, I think this victory was due simply for the show's transitions from season five to six and six to seven! 

Best Series – Musical or Comedy
The Big Bang Theory (Readers' Choice)
How I Met Your Mother
Modern Family
Ugly Betty

Modern Family is undoubtedly one of the smartest shows on television, and it deserves all the acclaim it receives.

Performance by an Actress in A Leading Role – Drama
Eva Longoria, Desperate Housewives
Felicity Huffman, Desperate Housewives
Glenn Close, Damages (Readers' Choice)
Marcia Cross, Desperate Housewives
Rose Byrne, Damages
Sally Field, Brothers & Sisters

It was close between Felicity Huffman and Glenn Close for me in this one; but we all know that Close is a class apart!

Performance by an Actor in A Leading Role – Drama
Hugh Laurie, House MD (Readers' Choice)
John Hamm, Mad Men
Michael C Hall, Dexter
Patrick Dempsey, Grey’s Anatomy
Peter Krause, Parenthood

I didn't need to watch over six seasons of House MD to acknowledge Laurie's phenomenal performance. Michael C Hall came very close!

Performance by an Actress in A Leading Role – Musical or Comedy
America Ferreira, Ugly Betty
Courtney Cox, Cougar Town
Julie Bowen, Modern Family (Readers' Choice)
Lea Michele, Glee

I love the way Julie Bown portrays Claire Dunphy. She plays the glue that binds the family together with finesse.

Performance by an Actor in A Leading Role – Musical or Comedy
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory (Readers' Choice)
Josh Radnor, How I Met Your Mother
Matthew Morrison, Glee
Ty Burrell, Modern Family

Parsons displays his exceptional talents playing Sheldon Cooper, definitely one of the most memorable characters on television!

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role – Drama
Chandra Wilson, Grey’s Anatomy 
Drea de Matteo, Desperate Housewives
Jennifer Carpenter, Dexter
Julia Stiles, Dexter
Lisa Edelstein, House MD (Readers' Choice)
Sandra Oh, Grey’s Anatomy

As much as I would have liked to acknowledge Julia Stiles for her performance in Dexter, I cannot forget the chilling image of Miranda Bailey, played by Chandra Wilson, being dragged out from under the bed by the shooter in the season six finale of Grey's Anatomy. Wilson was extraordinary!

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role – Drama
Ed Westwick, Gossip Girl
James Pickens Jr, Grey’s Anatomy
Johnny Lee Miller, Dexter
Justin Chambers, Grey’s Anatomy (Readers' Choice)
Matthew Rhys, Brothers & Sisters
Omar Epps, House MD

Omar Epps has been consistent on House MD, but this one goes to him for his performance back in season two, when Foreman, his character was sick and in isolation, on his deathbead, and how he very convincingly portrays every element of the desperation and frustration that comes with deteriorating health. 

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role – Musical or Comedy
Alyson Hannigan, How I Met Your Mother (Readers' Choice)
Becki Newton, Ugly Betty
Jane Lynch, Glee
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty

Jane Lynch was a strong contender, but Sofia Vergara deserved this one because of the contribution she has made to Modern Family, and the life that she lends to Gloria Pritchett's character.

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role – Musical or Comedy
Chris Colfer, Glee
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
Jesse Tyler Fergusson, Modern Family
Michael Urie, Ugly Betty
Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother (Readers' Choice)

Cameron is definitely the most memorable character from Modern Family, and Eric Stonestreet does a fabulous job of playing him.

Writing – Storylines & Dialogues
Desperate Housewives
Grey’s Anatomy
House MD
Modern Family

Grey's Anatomy's storylines are almost flawless and every twist and turn is handled with great sensibility for the show and sensitivity for the characters.

Character Development
Grey’s Anatomy
House MD

Season six of Grey's Anatomy was the 'Season that changed everything', and it did, and when season seven was publicised with the tagline, 'Let the healing begin', that was true on so many levels, for every character and how they've all changed. And, the way each character's dimensions were explored made it all so real!

Art Direction
Desperate Housewives
Gossip Girl
Mad Men
Modern Family

The flawless perfection of Wisteria Lane, and the transformation of Bree's, Susan/Paul's and Edie/Renee's homes in season seven earns Desperate Housewives this acknowledgement.

Costume Design
Desperate Housewives
Gossip Girl
Mad Men
Ugly Betty

The 60s sense of style is epitomised perfectly by Mad Men, and that's why they deserve this acknowledgement.

Make-up – Prosthetic & Non-Prosthetic
Grey’s Anatomy
House MD
Mad Men

The baffling visuals of medicine and surgery on Grey's Anatomy, achieved by outstanding prosthetic make-up is why the show deserved this victory.

Music – Background Score
Desperate Housewives
House MD
Ugly Betty

The background music in the thrilling sequences on Dexter make the show all the more gripping, complementing everything else beautifully!

Music – Compilation
Brothers & Sisters
Gossip Girl
Grey’s Anatomy
Private Practice

The best part of Glee is the music. Not only are the performances excellent, the selection and slotting of all the songs is flawless!

Titles – Opening & Closing Credits
House MD
How I Met Your Mother
Mad Men

Do comment and let me know what you think...